Germany’s Air Berlin demands at least $11.8m from Etihad – report

Air Berlin filed for bankruptcy in August after Etihad refused to provide any further funding



Failing German airline Air Berlin is demanding at least EUR10m ($11.8m) in damages from shareholder Etihad for letting it become insolvent, according to reports.

German newspaper Rheinische Post on Saturday quoted administrator Frank Kebekus as confirming talks with the Abu Dhabi airline were taking place.

“We are in negotiations with Etihad and hope to reach a general settlement soon. We are hoping for a two-digit million euro sum,” he was quoted as saying.

Air Berlin filed for bankruptcy in August after Etihad refused to provide any further funding than the EUR250m ($294.6m) it said it provided since acquiring a 29.2 per cent stake in the German airline in 2011.

Read: Etihad expresses ‘disappointment’ as Air Berlin files for insolvency

Air Berlin had accumulated losses worth over EUR2.7bn ($3.1bn) over six years and a net debt of EUR1.2bn ($1.4bn) at the time of announcement.

Etihad has been reviewing its investments in European airlines under previous CEO James Hogan after they failed to produce returns.

Read: Abu Dhabi’s Etihad appoints Tony Douglas as group CEO

The airline also said it would no longer invest in Italy’s Alitalia in May after the airline’s board asked to be put into administration.

Etihad reported a $1.87bn loss in 2016, its first since 2011, after being hit by impairments on aircraft and exposure to equity partner airlines.

Read: Etihad Airways posts $1.87bn loss in 2016 amid turbulent year

Read: Etihad says will no longer invest in Italy’s Alitalia

Air Berlin is due to cease operations on October 28 at the least and Kebekus said 4,000 staff could lose their jobs unless a transfer company was created to temporarily employ them.